Tourist and Child Sex Trafficing

“I struggled to imagine how such abuse must feel for a child. I tried to picture my own kids in that situation, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. There was a psychological safety valve that just wouldn’t let my mind go there.”   – Debbie Wolfe

Child-Sex-TourismI just read Most Child Sex Tourists Are ‘Situational Offenders’, Not Pedophiles and it turned my stomach. It talks about how we tend to think that sex tourists go to other countries with the idea that they are going to abuse a child when the reality is that many of these people are just normal tourists that see an opportunity to abuse a child and feel like there won’t be any negative consequences so they go for it.

My eyes filled with tears when I saw the face of the little puppet in the hotel room, his face frozen in terror. Tears because of what these children experience. Tears because a local hotel admitted the tourist along with this little boy, without asking questions. And tears because, in all the time the tourist was building the children’s trust, no other adult noticed something was wrong or stepped in to help.

I’m glad that I read this article about Canadian sex tourism, but I wonder what Americans can do. Does anyone know what someone can do when they think or know that an American has been involved in child sex tourism?

I found this information on the United States Department of Justice website:

  • To report an incident or suspicious situation that may involve the extraterritorial sexual exploitation of children, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-3737-888, or file a confidential online report at http://www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline/report-a-tip. Your report will be forwarded to a law enforcement agency for investigation and action.
  • You can also report an incident or suspicious situation to Immigration and Customs Enforcement/ Homeland Security Investigations (ICE) by calling the ICE hotline at 1-866-347-2423, or emailing ICE at predator@DHS.gov.

Anyone have any other tips or suggestions?

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Getting a Warrant Vacated … During an Adoption

Warrant Black Woman ArrestedThe Background

In March we found out that I had a warrant for my arrest from our adoption worker. Aaagh! I was stopped for speeding in 2009 and totally forgot about it. Apparently, it turned into a failure to appear and bench warrant in 2010. The adoption worker said that we couldn’t move forward with the adoption while I had a warrant.

When I first heard about the warrant i freaked out! I wasn’t sure what to do, so I Googled, “failure to appear warrant” and tons of pages from attorneys came up. All the pages said that you have to get an attorney when you have a warrant because if you even show up to pay it you can be arrested.

The First Play

I went down to the courthouse to see if I could just pay it. The transit clerk told me that I couldn’t pay it because I had a bench warrant out. She scheduled me to appear in court December 26th. Yes, that’s December …. as in 9 months away from March! I asked her if I could do anything about the warrant at least and she said that there was nothing that she could do. A judge would have to vacate the warrant. Ugh! I needed it done before that so we could move on with the adoption.

The Second Option

The first attorney I called said that he could get the warrant vacated and everything taken care of for $3,500. He said that he would have to make a call to get it “on the calendar” and …. I don’t remember. As soon as I heard, “$3,500” I stopped listening.

The second attorney I called said that she could get the warrant vacated and everything taken care of for, “$2,000 … most likely”. Hmmm …

The Solution

We have a friend from college that has three sisters that are attorneys. As soon as He told him the deal, he suggested that we call one of his sisters. After I told her about the speeding, failure to appear and warrant she told me to show up at the court and pay it. She laughed when I mentioned that I could be arrested. She said that of course I could be arrested, but they have more important matters to deal with.

I went down to the courthouse again on Thursday. After standing in line for about an hour, I reached the transit clerk. This time I spoke with a AWESOME guy that told me that to be seen the same day I needed to:

1) Have some kind of paperwork that proved that I needed to be seen asap.

2) Be one of the first 5 people in line to be tacked on to the day’s proceedings.

Whoo hoo!

What Happened

We went home and planned to leave the house at 3:30am to make it to the line by 5am. When we arrived it was pitch black and we were the first in line! YES! When we went up to the counter, we got a different transit clerk that told us:

1) The warrant had be vacated in March when I set the appointment to see the judge. He actually laughed and said that of course they’d have to vacate the warrant, because if not I could be arrested if I was ever stopped.

2) They could get me in today after all the scheduled folks.

There were 80 scheduled folks. It took about an hour for me to be called. The judge asked me how I pled and I said, “No contest”. He reduced the failure to appear from $700 to $25. With all the fines and fees I had to pay $555.

The Revelation

I walked back to the transit clerk that I spoke with on Thursday and paid my fine. He gave me a piece of paper that had the information from the judge on it and receipt.I asked him to give me a printout saying that the warrant had been vacated and he looked at me like I was stupid. He said that the warrant had been vacated since MARCH when I scheduled the court date!

Done and done. That’s it. They were gonna charge me between $2,000 and $3.500 for …. ?? PLUS, as officers of the court they had to know that I didn’t have an active warrant when I called because I told them that I had already scheduled a court appearance.

Also, the first clerk that scheduled the date should have know, no? UGH!

I’m SUPER glad that we didn’t end up shelling out for an attorney for no reason. I’m SUPER glad that this is taken care of. I’m SUPER glad that we are one step closer to having a little on in our home.